European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 57, Issue 7, pp 2333–2340 | Cite as

Association between dietary glycemic index and glycemic load with depression: a systematic review

  • Mehran Rahimlou
  • Nava Morshedzadeh
  • Soheila Karimi
  • Sima Jafarirad



A combination of genetic and environmental factors is involved in depression etiology. During the last years, the prevalence of depression has increased in both developed and developing countries. Several studies indicated an association between dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) with risk of depression. This systematic review was undertaken to summarize the effect of these diet indicators in depression pathogenesis.


A comprehensive search strategy was performed in the Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Library and Scopus databases from 1966 to March 2017. Finally, six studies (three prospective cohort studies and three cross-sectional) were ultimately selected for inclusion in the systematic review.


75298 adults and elderly entered the reviewed studies. All of the included studies had high methodological quality. The present study indicated that the intake of foods with higher GI is associated with disease risk. However, the relationship was found to be inverse for GL, though the association was rather weak.


Overall, the findings indicated that a diet with lower dietary glycemic index may be effective to reduce the risk or risk of depression.


Depression Glycemic index Glycemic load Carbohydrate Diet 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehran Rahimlou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nava Morshedzadeh
    • 3
  • Soheila Karimi
    • 4
  • Sima Jafarirad
    • 2
  1. 1.Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases Research CenterAhvaz Jundishapur University of Medical SciencesAhvazIran
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, School of Para-medicineAhvaz Jundishapur University of Medical SciencesAhvazIran
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Nutrition and Food TechnologyShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Nutrition and Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine ScienceShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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